Peter Matthews

On the summit of Mauna Kea, Hawaii. Follow my work on Instagram.  

On the summit of Mauna Kea, Hawaii.

Follow my work on Instagram.


Artist Statement

I work directly in the ocean. I have done this around the world since 2007 following a near death experience in the Pacific Ocean in Mexico. I work directly in the ocean and coastal environments, sometimes in the open ocean, sometimes on the ocean floor, sometimes in the intertidal zones. Immersion with the ocean and nature is central to my practice, as is the notion and experience of the journey. I do not work in a studio. My work straddles the performative and the conceptual, the experimental and process and material based inquiries into how I experience time, place, space, the sublime, the ineffable, the transient, the impermanent, the romantic, the mysterious and the poetic.

I work directly with the mystical elements, dimensions and truths that shape and inform our experience and understanding of who and where we are in the universe. By spending hours working in real time and in an ever evolving approach and relationship with the ocean, and through its extension and connection with the universe, I seek to question and challenge, reveal and work with these mystical truths. I work across different ways of image making and continuously discover that a drawing can take me to places that a painting cannot while, similarly, video may be more susceptible to capturing something that drawing, even after hours and hours drifting in the ocean, may elude. 

My work is motivated by the notions of discovery and exploration, to jettison oneself from technology and to realign oneself back with the cosmic cycles of being a luminous human being in a world that is radically changing in speed, scale, direction and its connection and understanding of where we are in the universe.

I am motivated to go into the ocean as it is the closest place I know where one can exist on the edge of the world we currently know, and into and out towards a set of worlds unexplored and discovered. My process of working in solitude in the ocean is defined and informed by the poetic blending of rituals, dreams, the spirit world, chanting, intuition, superstition, the paranormal and the diversity of fringe and earth sciences while moving and responding to what is happening in our contemporary world.

I work in mixed media all the time and this approach and process is constantly evolving. I will often use found objects which I find along the coast or in the ocean as collected flotsam and jetsam. Recently, I have been taking my paintings to a larger scale and incorporating found objects into the making process, visually and materially, and also sewing pieces and fragments of paintings made in different countries and ocean bodies together into one painting.

Recent artist interview